I’ll be using the ZPacks Arc Blast. This is my third Arc Blast and without a doubt my favourite ever pack. The feather light 605g combined with the amazing load isolation is an unbeatable combination. However, for this trek it has proved difficult. It’s the main compartment of the pack is only 42L, and with 10 days of food, a winter sleeping bag, half the tent and some group gear it’s completely full.
My sleeping pad, spare clothes and personal gear just won’t fit. After much shuffling, I’ve decided to attach three Zpacks tall dry-bags to the outside of the pack. The alternative is to take a larger, heavier pack but I’d like to avoid this if possible.
I can just about fit everything I need in the Arc Blast with attached dry-bags. It’s worth noting that ten days is the maximum amount of food that we’ll be carrying, and as we gradually eat it, more space will become available in the main compartment and I can migrate items inside. I’m not a great fan of hanging thin DCF dry-bags on the outside of my pack, but I’m going to give it a go. In our collections of spares I have two extra dry-bags and also my larger pack in case this system proves too unreliable.
Attached to the pack I’ll also have two Zpacks waist strap pouches, a Mammut shoulder strap bottle holder and a Mammut shoulder strap accessory pouch.
One disadvantage of strapping the dry-bags to the sides of the pack is it limits the height of the water bottles I’ll be able to carry in the side pockets. I’ve chosen 1L Nalgene Ultralight HDPE wide-mouth bottles to best fit with this system, which isn’t ideal because they’re much heavier (108g) than the standard disposable bottles I’d usually take.
I’ll also be bringing an Hyperlight Mountain Gear Stuff Pack, which I’ll be able to attach to the back of my pack in case I need extra volume. The mountaineering sections I may need a bit more space. This is a handy little bag, which at only 117g makes an excellent day pack.